These anemone looking creatures are in fact Florida Corallimorphs, a close relative that are not particularly common here in Anguilla, although from time to time small groups may be sighted clinging tightly to rocky substrate. These filter feeders are a surprising array of colour tinges when one looks up close, which have been highlighted in this image by a little bit of artificial enhancement. Beautiful.
For those who are interested, corallimorphs are often referred to as ‘false corals’ and their iridescent colours make them popular within the aquarium trade. Their internal structure is almost identical to that of ‘true corals’, but they lack an internal skeleton, with a foot that is used to anchor them to the substrate rather than a calcified structure. As with corals the Florida Corallimorph hosts zooxanthellae that undergo photosynthesis and produce oxygen and sugar that is then used by the host to supplement its diet of zooplankton.
Originally posted on instagram @sea_anguilla with the text: Florida Corallimorphs folded into a rock crevice in Limestone Bay on the north side of Anguilla. These creatures are not particularly common here although in certain select areas they can form quite large groups. Colours have been enhanced in this image to highlight detail.